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Cpl. Ron Pate

I was a 2841 in ELMACO with Pate we both were in Radio Relay section, we had not worked together much as I had problem with 1St Sgt. During move from Air Base by Dog Patch to FLC I had helped move Com stuff in Radio Relay to the Plywood Elephant, I think I only had a rack at FLC a couple days. Got to Nam in Nov. burner shitters and TAD to conveys duty as Co. Camder did like my records of M.O.S. from C&E. Batt San Diego a another story! Ronny and I walked to club that night a little late so we stood up leaning on the fence, round eyes on stage were great. Grenade went off Pate and I were knocked to ground when I woke up later, Marines were still leaving so I moved Ron and my self to wall so not to trip any one. All Marines inside club thought the gooks were inside the wire so they were leaving for Defense.

Ronny they say got a piece in the heart , I was wounded from shoulders to ankles. Marines reasonable did not do time. One got a Bad Conduct discharge but because of Drugs. I have never talked about this as of coarse I never received purple heart nor should have I but being in N.S.A. Guam Naval hospital Japan then Great Lakes till June 1970, I seen so many wounded Marines legs arms missing burns Infection as I was on Ward 3 S. great lakes dirty ward. Plus I got to come home early Ronnie stood by me I lived he died. I am going to PTSD meetings now for a year or so. I am telling this for others maybe me some. I now wear Marine Hats, put emblems on my trucks 10 or 15 years ago. I was always proud my being a Marine by volunteering to serve in Corp and Nam. But being stationed at El. Tore from June to Oct. with all the Hippy Dippy spitting outside gate. Last time I was spit on was in Denver Airport by a mother of two children plus not many regular people supported us either

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Comments

Terry Reilly - April 9, 2020

In reply to Dave Magnenat.
Dave Magnenat do you recall a Kevin Reilly he was with Lima 3/5 from 1966 to 1968?

chris wesling - April 9, 2020

In reply to Jim McIntyre.
My dad was at red beach 69-70. He mentioned he was threatened with ( fragging ). He was really pissed off as he was a ” gung-ho” marine of 30 years serving on Tinian/Saipan, then Korea & Vietnam,1942-1972. My dad; Mgy/sgt William j. Wesling- E-9 ;RIP

DANIEL ZAWIEJSKI (SKI) 7TH. MOTOR BATTLION (B CO.) CHU LAI VIETNAM 1966-1967 - April 9, 2020

In reply to DANIEL ZAWIEJSKI (SKI) 7TH. MOTOR BATTLION (B CO.) CHU LAI VIETNAM 1966-1967.
SKI TO DAVE I WAS WITH 7TH MOTOR BATTLION AND WE WERE OUT AT EVERY HILL THE MARINES OWN FOR A MONTH AT A TIME OR LONGER. AND PLACE’S THAT WERN’T EVEN ON THE MAP. I HAVE BEEN TO SO MANY OUT POSTS BUT HILL 3/5 WAS THE (WORST!) WE WERE THERE IN THE (MONSOON SEASON) THE MUD WAS UP TO YOUR KNEES ALLWAYS RAINING, TENTS ALLWAYS LEAKING, ALLWAYS EATING C- RATION’S AND THE VC ALLWAYS ATTACKING AT NIGHT MAN WHAT A SHIT HOLE! NO BODY KNEW WHO WAS IN CHARGE AND WHAT WAS GOING ON.WHAT A CLUSTER F–K! HILL 3/5 REMINEDED ME OF THAT VIETNAM MOVIE (APOCALYPSE NOW) WHEN THE CAPTAIN AND THE NAVY BOAT WAS OUT AT THE FURTHEST OUTPOST UP THE RIVER BY THAT BRIDGE WITH THE VC YELLING I KILL YOU GI ETC. AND LOOKING FOR WHO EVER WAS IN CHARGE AND ASK THAT SOLDIER ON THE (50) IF HE KNEW WHO WAS IN CHARGE AND HIS ANSWER WAS I THOUGHT YOU WERE SIR? THEN THE SOLDIER ON THE (M79) GERNADE LAUNCHER SAYS HE’S CLOSE (VC YELLING) POPPED OFF A ROUND AND GOT HIM AND THEY WENT BACK TO SLEEP. ONE NIGHT AROUND 2-3 AM THE VC TRIED TO OVER RUN HILL 3/5 ALL WE COULD DO WAS FIRE INTO THE ON COMING VC COMING UP THE HILL FROM THE RICE PATTIES, COULDN’T SEE S- -T THE BIG GUNS 175MM AND 155MM WERE ON TOP OF THE HILL AND FIRED POINT BLANK RIGHT DOWN THE HILL GROUND LEVEL TO THE RICE PATTIES MAN YOU WANT TO TALK (MASSACISAM) AT DAY BREAK! I NEVER SAW ANYTHING LIKE THAT IN MY LIFE. THE GROUND HAD HUGE SWIRL HOLES DOWN THE SIDE OF THE HILL AND BODY’S EVERY WHERE JUST ANOTHER DAY IN THE MARINE CORPS SEMPER FI SKI

DANIEL ZAWIEJSKI (SKI) 7TH. MOTOR BATTLION (B CO.) CHU LAI VIETNAM 1966-1967 - April 9, 2020

In reply to Dave Magnenat.
SKI TO DAVE WAS AT HILL 3/5 WE STAYED AT EVERY HILL FOR A MONTH AT A TIME. HILL 3/5 WAS A REAL MESS WITH THE MARINE’S. THEY WERE KILL CRAZY! THEY (HUNG) A (V C) IN FRONT OF THE CHAPLE EVERY MORNING. DROVE THE CHAPLEN CRAZY! 3/5 WAS OUR FARTHEST OUT POST AT THE TIME. WE TRIED TO CLOSE THE GAP TO GET TO (DANANG) FOR A SUPPLY RUN BUT NO LUCK (CHARLIE OWN THAT PART OF NAM) DEAD MAN’S ALLEY FARTHEST WE GOT WAS (TAMKIE) AND GOT OUR ASSES KICKED MANY MARNIE’S DIED THE DAY. SEMPER FI SKI

Dave Magnenat - April 9, 2020

In reply to DANIEL ZAWIEJSKI (SKI) 7TH. MOTOR BATTLION (B CO.) CHU LAI VIETNAM 1966-1967.
Semper Fi Ski, to answer the final question in your message—Where were you in 1967?.. I was sitting on those same hills in Chu Lai as you were. I was a Doc with Kilo 3/5. You know that there are people out there that know exactly how you feel and what you went thru. As you may remember, Docs were very short in supply and greatly needed in those days. So I ended up serving with all companies in 3/5 and saw action in nearly all ops that occurred. It has been nearly 50 years since I came home and I am still being treated for PTSD. It isn’t something that you wake up some morning and it is gone. It takes a lot of help, time and people to get a grasp and control of. But it can be done…….My personal heart felt “THANK YOU” to all of those Marines who I served with for keeping me alive and in one piece.

Robert T. (3rd Shore Party Bn) - April 9, 2020

In reply to DANIEL ZAWIEJSKI (SKI) 7TH. MOTOR BATTLION (B CO.) CHU LAI VIETNAM 1966-1967.
Every time someone comes up to me and says “thank you for your service” and shakes my hand I smile and reply “thank you for your thoughtfulness”. In 1967 I was either at Camp Evans and Dong Ha, RVN until August when I rotated back to the “world”. My family and I made plans to meet at he airport. After visiting in the airport for awhile my wife and I went on a planned second honeymoon at the beach as on our first wedding anniversary I was at Camp Schwab, Okinawa. My wife had bought me some civilian cloths but I had to travel in my khakis until we got to the beach. It was getting late at night when we left the airport and I had been traveling all day. We decided to stop for a bite to eat at a restaurant on the way. As we were waiting for our meal, three “punks” came in and set down at the table behind us and started that old crap about “baby killers” and made a few more derogatory remarks about people in the military and etc. I tried to ignore them but it soon got to me and knew I had to do something. I stood up and just as I turned around, my wife got me by the arm and told me that I was not going to spend my first night back home in jail. She then escorted me out and we went on our way again.

GYSGT Danny Marso - April 9, 2020

I was stationed at Great Lakes,1965-1966. Lots of Marines left every week for Nam. A lot of walking wounded reported in in and we’re going to the hospital every day. I was a Cpl. And a short timer as far as going to VN. I met a lot of young Marines,who had only been in the Corps for 6-7 months and went to Nam right out of ITR.One day a young Marine passed me in the passageway, Inoticed he was a Pvt . With only a Purple Heart,I asked him how he was doing,and how long he had been in the Corps,he said he was 18,and had only been in for about 6 Months,MCRD , ITR , Nam for about 25 days. He had been wounded and had a Colostomy bag, I felt bad for the kid,he hadn’t even started his time before it was over. We didn’t get much trouble outside the base, because North Chicago is a military town,and when we drank,at a Marine bar called the Two Two it was all Marines,so ther was no problems. I was in the Cross Country Chaser section, and after two years in the Grunts, it was the best duty I ever had. We covered the 13th Navall District,which covered 12 States, all the Midwest and a little farther West. On one run we had picked a deserter up in Kanas City,and we were flying back to O’hare in Chicago. We were waiting at O’hare to transfer to rail back to the Brig,and had our prisoner handcuffed and the three of us were off to the side of everyone minding our own business ,when this older guy in business clothes stops and asks us where we were taking the kid we had, we were probably about 20 and we just nodded for him to move along. So as we were in MP gear, another guy stopped and asked were we were taking the prisoner, and called us a derogatory name. We moved close to the prisoner,and put him behind us ,now a few more people stopped and asked what was going on,and started to curse us and called out insults and taunts. We placed our hands on our weapons,as now there was about 10-12 assholes feeling very brave . We said “this man is a deserter,and he’s being returned to face punishment,and he is our prisoner ” just about then two Airport Policemen saw the folks and us,figuring it was going to get worse, they came over,stood by us and told the travelers to move on,that they were causing a disturbance,and interfering with the Military. I couldn’t believe that was happening, we were the “good guys” here, pretty pissed off at fellow Americans would treat us like that. As time went on we were welcome at the local American Legion,and Chicago and North Chicago were pretty good. This was early 1966, and things were pretty good,but I never forgot how hateful those people were. After a Corps wide extension,of two months I was discharged. Got home,and went into the local USMCR unit.

Mike Rummel, Sgt, 1967-71 - April 9, 2020

Regarding Ron Pate: I was a 2881 — Tactical Crypto Tech. I was the NCOIC of the Crypto shop, ElMaCo, on 5 February 1970, when two grenades were thrown over the wooden fence into the sand area of Andy’s Pub between the concrete patio and the elevated wooden stage where the three Australian women were performing. All the 2881s and I were around a table at the edge of the sand with the back of my chair next to the concrete patio. It was so crowded that the only grenade to explode killed Ron Pate and wounded 62 other Marines and Corpsmen. The blast knocked me over, but those other 62 absorbed all the shrapnel. Ron Pate had a rack across from mine in the very last hootch at the end of a line of hootches next to the lake. I knew him to say hello. He was one of the nicest guys one would ever meet in this life. In 1980, I filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for the transcript of the one General Court-Martial (GCM) that was held. The accused Marine was acquitted, meaning there was no transcript of testimony given at the GCM. As a result, the GCM transcript itself was mostly the Article 32 Pre-Trial Investigation report. From that report I found out that the second grenade still had electrician’s tape holding the spoon to the body of the grenade, meaning the spoon would never pop arming the grenade unless/until the tape was removed. That grenade was found on the patio behind the chair in which I was sitting. Ask me if I am thankful for that. By the way, I became a Navy JAG in 1981. As an attorney, the evidence I reviewed from my FOIA request satisfied me as to why the accused Marine was acquitted by the Members at his GCM. There is more to this story, so I am asking Sgt. Grit to give my name and email to the author of the Ron Pate article and to tell him I’d love to hear from him.

Joe Cruff - April 9, 2020

I would love to know if the Marine made it home ok after the fragging at FLC with chest wounds. I stayed with him until corpsman arrived and I never will forget what he said to him. He didn’t ask if he was going to be alright. He said Doc, can I go home now? Semper Fi

Bill Walter - April 9, 2020

Cpl. Pate lives on in your memory and story. Also remember the spit washes off and you have numerous brothers and sisters that love and support you, 24-7, 365. You are a Marine and always will be. We got your 6! Don’t do anything stupid!! Talk to a friend you trust with your life. If you want to talk to a stranger, I would be honored. You can get my e–address from Grit. Cpl. Bill Walter, Hickory,NC

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